It's easy to get caught up in the details. To let your worries and doubts hold back your dreams and ambitions. If someone had told me at 12 years old that in 12 years I would have an incurable chronic condition I'm not sure what I would've done. I'm not even sure it would've changed my path. But what I do know now is that it has given me a very different perspective. Being slapped in the face by a diagnosis that simply must be endured and battled everyday has a way of testing your patience for even the simplest of life's daily elements. But it also had a way of opening your eyes to the beauty and ugly in the world.
We as humans are capable of the most touching of actions. Yet we are also capable of the most heinous of crimes. We pit ourselves against each other measuring our selves against each others perfections and flaws. We battle each other for “rightness”, standing on our own soapbox of experiences and beliefs. We have the capacity for empathy but sometimes we don't exercise it.
When you strip away all of our personal experiences, cultures and beliefs we are simple beings. We simply want to live the best life that we can. We want to survive and endure free of fear and persecution.
Each generation for many generations has faced its own version of atrocities and miracles. World wars have divided us. Economics has divided us. Race has divided us. Religion has divided us. Gender has divided us. I could go on as there are truly so many ways we can divide ourselves but in the end these divisions, whatever they may be, continue to destroy us.
It is not easy to confront what we are uncomfortable with. Discussions about the characteristics that differentiate us, and sometimes violently divide us, often lead to silence. But if we instead approach these divides with a simple question and an honest reply we may begin to strengthen the web that connects us. We can start by asking "how are you" to one another and always replying with and honest answer.
In our honesty we can bring about real connection by providing each other with the opportunity to deepen our empathetic muscles and strengthen our human connections. If we are empathetically connected our divisions can no longer decisively divide us. I believe we can dismantle the feelings of “us” and “them” through the simplest of actions. Like a smile on the street to a stranger or a “how are you” to a sales clerk. Holding the door for a mother or father with a baby carriage or giving up your seat on the train or bus, if you are able so, so someone who you perceive needs it more can sit. An honest answer to a “How are you”, and so many more. By practicing some of these simple actions we can begin to nurture our own empathetic inclinations and with time we can change the world.
Empathy can help us bridge our divides.
Remember we’re all on a journey and we can be stronger together.
Hi, I'm Liz. I like to write about life and the wisdom I cull from it. I use words and images to inspire empathy and connection with each other and the world.